A truly healthy munchieThink you can’t eat cheesy, crunchy treats when you’re trying to slim down? Celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito has the perfect solution!
Jalapeňo poppers are one of the most popular starters at chain restaurants, but they tend to be among the least diet-friendly—and no wonder, considering they’re deep-fried and stuffed with cheese. But chef Rocco DiSpirito has found a way to lighten them up without compromising one bit on the crispiness or rich flavor. First, he coated the peppers in whole-wheat panko bread crumbs to add fiber, then he used a technique he calls “faux frying” to get them brown and crunchy. “All that means is baking the peppers at high heat,” he says. “Jalapeňos bake so nicely, I wonder why poppers were ever deep-fried in the first place!” Another taste-preserving step was finding the right lowfat cheddar. “I tried different brands—Cabot 75% Reduced Fat melted and tasted the best,” he says. Sample these and you’ll never crave the original again!
GOOEY JALAPEŇO POPPERS
36grams of fat
5grams of fat
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
- 6 Jalapeňo, halved, seeds and ribs removed
- ½ cup shredded 75% reduced-fat cheddar, such as Cabot
- ¼ cup reduced-fat whipped cream cheese, such as Weight Watchers
- 4 scallions, finely chopped, divided
- ½ cup whole-wheat flour
- 1½ cups whole-wheat panko bread crumbs
- 4 large egg whites
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cooking spray
- ½ cup fat-free sour cream, such as Breakstone’s
- Preheat broiler on high. Place a wire baking rack on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place Jalapeňo on wire rack; broil for about 2 minutes or until they start to char. Cool completely.
- Preheat oven to 450 F. In a small bowl, mix chedder, cream cheese, and half the scallions. Using a teaspoon, fill each pepper half with the cheese mixture, packing tightly.
- Put flour and panko in separate shallow dishes. In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy but not quite holding peaks. Working in batches, dredge Jalapeňo in flour (shake off excess), then add to egg whites and coat, being careful not to let the filling come out. Add a few at a time to panko and coat.
- Lay Jalapeňo on wire rack and season with salt and pepper. Coat lightly with cooking spray. Bake for about 20 minutes or until breading is golden and cheese has melted. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir remaining scallions into sour cream. Season with salt. Serve with hot poppers.
Make 6 Servings:Weight Loss Recipes Amount Per Serving(2 pepper halves, 1⅓ tbsp. sour cream):
144 calories, 5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 16 g carbs, 10 g protein, 3 g fiber, 102 mg calcium, <1 mg iron, 239 mg sodium